Aug 6: The Tigers have announced that Solak has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Toledo. As Solak does not have the necessary service time to reject the assignment, he’ll likely remain in the organization through the end of the season as a depth option for the Tigers in the minor leagues.
Vaasquez, 29, was a somewhat surprising DFA following the trade deadline. He’s pitched to a sparkling 2.27 ERA in 39 2/3 innings this season, although the rest of his numbers don’t exactly signify that type of dominance. The lefty’s 20% strikeout rate is a few percentage points south of the league average, while his 8.2% walk rate and 43% ground-ball rate are right are both roughly average. Vasquez has stranded 86.6% of the baserunners he’s allowed this season — a fluky high number that’s likely bound for some regression. Fielding-independent metrics peg him more in the low-4.00s than in the low 2.00s.
That said, he was still an effective reliever for the Phils, and it was a genuine surprise to see him dropped from the 40-man roster over other DFA candidates. It’s not particularly surprising that a team with high waiver priority placed a claim. Only six teams (A’s, Royals, Rockies, Nationals, White Sox, Cardinals) had a higher waiver priority than Detroit. That group apparently passed on putting in a claim, but the Tigers will plug Vasquez, who’s out of minor league options, directly into the big league bullpen.
If things work out for Vasquez in Detroit, he could be a long-term piece of the relief corps. He’ll finish the season with one-plus year of big league service time, meaning Detroit can control him for another five years.
Solak, 28, continues to bounce throughout the league via the DFA circuit. He’s been with the Rangers, Reds, Mariners, White Sox, Braves and Tigers since November, never making it through waivers despite frequent DFAs. He was once a well-regarded prospect — a bat-first player whose defensive home was up for debate. Questions about Solak’s glove still persist, and his bat never developed as hoped at the Major League level. He’s a career .252/.327/.372 hitter in 974 big league plate appearances and is batting .226/.346/.363 between three Triple-A clubs this season.
With the trade deadline now passed, Solak will be placed on waivers once again and made available to all 29 other clubs.